Face-to-face events are still the most common, popular and biggest producers of ROI for companies today. The most critical factor that keeps events bringing in leads and revenue is the alignment of sales and marketing within a company.
Not everyone understands the importance of both of these departments to run seamlessly together at all times. In order to be successful, it’s important that everyone is on the same page when it comes to the following: the types of leads that are deemed as quality, knowing what types of events will be successful for your team, and how to work together to maximize interactions at events. Below are several reasons why sales and marketing should always work together when planning events.
Target and Attract
As you begin the planning process for any type of event, large or small, it’s important to have the events team sync with the team leaders in marketing and sales to create the overall event plan. As you start sending out communications to invite people to the event, make sure sales and marketing are driving attendance to the event together. For example, once you have created your targeted event invite strategy, divide and concur with each team to call on attendees, send emails and write content as needed. Everyone should clearly understand who the target audience is for the event, and have a defined role in what he or she will be doing in order to drive attendance.
Maximize Your Investment
Another key part of both sales and marketing working together, is brainstorming ways your company will stand out at a larger event. One idea you could toss into the ring as the event planner is having the entire team host a smaller event during a larger one to maximize your investment and interact in a more private environment with prospects and customers.
For example, have both teams reach out to high-level customers and prospects you know will be attending the event, and invite them to a dinner. Don’t bore them to death with a long sales pitch or presentation - instead, actually sit and invest time with each person your team invited. It’s a great way for both sales reps and marketing team members to hear the struggles, pain points and best of all the praise that your customers are seeing. Investing time into quality conversations will go a long way for not only a successful company future, but also for successful and happy customers long term!
Think Like Them
As you work through the planning process for any event, take a stance and make sure both teams are thinking like each other. Marketing should be thinking through how sales will benefit from leads at an event, and also ways to help sell to these folks. Sales in return, should be thinking through ways the marketing team can impact leads - hot leads don’t typically just call up a rep and are ready to sign a contract... (ok, this likely almost never happens). So, how are leads entered into the sales funnel? In what ways are both teams able to scale for success?
Take a look at every touch point your event leads experience. Are they receiving the correct collateral (webcasts, data sheets, demos, etc) to help them understand and want to invest in your company? This is reliant on both sales and marketing to provide an overall cohesive experience for anyone who has high interest in your company.
Drive Home Engagement
The worst thing you can allow your team to do after an event wraps up is to not follow up with leads. The first item on everyone’s to-do list should be review the leads, sort and itemize by hot to cold, and then do a timely follow-up (and NOT the day after an event ends). Both teams should review the sales notes entered next to leads in your scanned list from the event (if it is a larger trade show), and then develop content targeted to these individuals that they will WANT from you. Remember you are reaching out to quality leads, so be sure to provide them with a quality follow-up, instead of a marketing schmooze-fest or sales pitch they are not interested in.
The best context you have to follow-up with is the one-on-one interactions you had at the event. Use these as tools to engage with leads. What are they most interested in? In what ways can sales and marketing work together to help with a seamless post-show experience?
Go to Them
If you’re seeing a lot of engagement in areas near your company, reach out and host local events right in your own backyard! Have sales and marketing work together to pull the top tiered list of customers or leads around you, and provide them with a full or half day or training, meetings, and tools they need to have continued success. There’s no better feeling than seeing customers happy because you reached out, listened and met them on their turf.
A great process to put into place after every event, is to set up a post-show debrief with everyone who was involved. From the events team, to sales reps to execs and marketing members, bring the leaders from each area together to talk through what worked and what didn’t. Were onsite meetings and conversations successful? If not, what can everyone do to ensure these work for your next event? Review the data after the event together to determine which customers are happy and those who are having issues. It’s great to have everyone in one room to hear all of this feedback and discuss how to move forward as one team.
A great event will result in leads converting to deals, so make sure the data you’re reviewing shows a measure of success year over year, and if it does not, then brainstorm ways to improve here.
Sales and Marketing teams should always work together on every single event - from strategy during pre-show planning, to messaging created for event collateral and emails, to the follow-up post-show. Having all teams in sync helps to create an easy and smooth event experience for everyone!